Tiny Tap App in the Foreign Language Classroom

TinyTap is a new app that caught my eye for its potential to make students creators and designers of games on the iPad. The app’s description says it is geared towards the”little ones” and lists the following as features and its educational use:

  • Add your own photos, take a picture, or search the web to add photos to your game
  • Record your own voice over photos so your little ones can always hear a familiar voice
  • Record a question, answer and a hint for a rich experience
  • Personalize your game with a soundtrack with over 20 great selections to choose from
  • Track your child’s progress with TinyTap’s in-game scoring system
  • Super duper simple interface, easy for anyone to play and create
  • Easily share the games you create with friends and family

EDUCATIONAL USETinyTap isn’t just for families! This user-friendly platform also makes converting and creating activity books and classroom activities a breeze. Children with special needs also benefit from the simple interface and personalized game play.

Geared towards the “little ones” from the description is a little vague. I think this app can be successfully used to various degrees from babyhood to upper elementary school students. I give this age range due  to the opportunities of personalization and the skills needed to “use” the game, versus the sills it takes to customize and/or design original games of various degrees of difficulty and creativity for other (younger) users.

My first impulse to test this app out was to create a babybook. I speak German to my little grandaughter, so I took a picture of her and recorded questions like

  • Wo ist deine Nase? (Where is your nose?)
  • Wo ist dein Mund? (Where is your mouth?) etc.

I traced the acceptable response areas on the image for each question, then recorded the response if the user tapped the correct area and one for the option that the user did not tap the correct area. My idea is to expand the book with pictures of family members who live far away, places she is used to visiting, rooms in the house,

The next step was to take the app into the classroom. I showed the game, I had created in German for my granddaughter to one of our Hebrew teachers, Morah Liat. She was excited to test it out with her 5th graders and create a “Review Book” for younger students for the upcoming school year. Our elementary school Hebrew teachers use the TalAm Curriculum. She divided students into groups of two and gave them vocabulary review units, such as parts of the face, body, classroom, school supplies and characters used in the curriculum book.

Students had to take their own images and then trace the correct answers, record a positive response as well as a negative response.

Sarah S, one of the 5th graders, blogged about her experience

I used the app Tiny Tap to create a Hebrew vocabulary game for the First, Second, and Third graders at my school. Everyone got partners to do the project with. I was partners with Barbie. I think I worked well with Barbie and we agreed on almost everything. Barbie and I made the app about the face. For example, Barbie recorded herself  asking a question in Hebrew such as: Where is the nose? Then if the student knew what the question was asking, they would touch the nose on the photo of a face. If they touched the nose and got it correct the iPad would say in Hebrew: Yes, that is the nose. Good job! If they touched the wrong thing the iPad would say in Hebrew: Please try again.

5th graders were also asked to review the app and to give some suggestions how they would improve it:

  • I didn’t like this app because it did not have some things that I wanted my  game to have,  like to be able to circle two things for the answer (Casey)
  • I think tiny Tap should allow text boxes so the kids can see and hear the words. If I was the App creator I would put stickers and better music for older kids. (Cayla)
  • To improve the app, I wish that there was extra additions that you could put on the game. I felt like the app was good but a little thin on what you could do. (Jake)
  • I didn’t like how simple and basic the app was. I would improve the app by being able to draw a picture on it and by having different options of how to make the game. (Sarah)
  • The app could be improved by allowing people to change the balloon, make it do something different other than flipping the page.(Shoshana)

Although students felt overall that they were too old for the app (have to remind them that they were designing for younger students),  I was thrilled to see the app allow them to:

  • be creative
  • “think” about design thinking
  • create with younger students (school mates) in mind
  • work collaboratively
  • practice their speaking and listening skills (in target language)
  • personalize content (images and voice recording)
  • easily share their games/interactive books with other iPad users

Here is my app evaluation according to the checklist of  Evaluating Apps with Transformative Use of the iPad in Mind

Click on image to enlarge

How do you envision using TinyTap app to transform learning in your class? Let’s brainstorm…